Detection and Genetic Diversity of Human Metapneumovirus in Hospitalized Children with Acute Respiratory Infections in Southwest China

Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Child Development and Disorders, Chongqing International Science and Technology Cooperation Center for Child Development and Disorders, Chongqing, China.
Journal of clinical microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.99). 06/2012; 50(8):2714-9. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.00809-12
Source: PubMed


Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is the main pathogen causing respiratory tract infection in susceptible populations, particularly in children and the elderly. Specimens were collected from hospitalized children with acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRTI), and the hMPV was detected by using real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). The full-length G gene of hMPV was amplified by RT-PCR. A total of 1,410 nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) were collected from April 2008 to March 2011, and 114 (10.2%) were positive for hMPV. Most hMPV-positive children were <5 years of age. The hMPV infection rate peaked in the spring-summer season of 2008 to 2009 and 2009 to 2010, while hMPV circulated predominantly during the winter-spring season of 2010 to 2011. The full-length G gene of 23 hMPV strains was amplified, and group A and B viruses accounted for 95.7% (22/23) and 4.3% (1/23), respectively. Genotype A2b of hMPV appeared to be predominant during the study period. Three genotypes (A2b, A1, and B1) were prevalent in the epidemic season of 2008 to 2009, and only genotype A2b was identified in the other two seasons (2009 to 2010 and 2010 to 2011). The G gene of hMPV was predicted to encode proteins with four different lengths, in which one with 210 amino acids was first identified in China. These findings suggest that hMPV was an important pathogen of ALRTI in pediatric patients, especially those <5 years of age. Genotype A2b of hMPV likely predominates in Southwest China, where other genotypes also circulate.

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